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Each believer is uniquely designed by a creative God, leading us to experience relationship with Him differently. And because we are all wired differently, various disciplines come easier to us than others. One of these disciplines is Inductive Bible Study. We have asked long time Well staff member and mentor Darlene Hanson to write about this area, as she not only enjoys it, but practices it regularly. Remember, this is just one way to interact with Scripture. Give it a try!
Read. Think. Live.
When looking at a piece of Scripture, it’s important to ask three important questions through the lens of Observation, Interpretation, and Application.
OBSERVATION: WHAT DOES IT SAY?
Observation is the act of seeing and taking notice of things as they really are.
- Who? – Who are the people involved?
- What? – What happened? What ideas are expressed? What are the results?
- Where – Where does this take place? What is the setting?
- When – When did it take place? What is the purpose? What is the stated reason for what took place?
- Why? – Why did it happen? What is the purpose? Is there a reason?
- How? – How are things accomplished? How effectively?
Note: Be sure to define important words – even look them up in the dictionary. You will be surprised how much even common words will come to life by looking them up.
INTERPRETATION: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Interpretation is the step of determining the author’s meaning. This helps you clarify the meaning of a passage and understand why it is included in Scripture. Interpretation answers the question, “What does it mean?”
It is very important to keep each verse in context. We never take a verse in isolation and make an interpretation from it. We need to take into account what the writer had in mind. This is one reason why it is best to know who wrote the book, who they were writing to, and why. Remember, Scripture interprets Scripture – you should be able to find verses and ideas that support each other.
APPLICATION: WHAT AM I TO DO?
Application is putting God’s Word into practice in your life. It is the ability to recognize the Scripture's personal message to you and to respond and live accordingly. The benefit of Bible study is not derived from methods, techniques or diligent efforts to decipher the text. Although these are important and helpful, they cannot change us. Only by receiving and obeying what is asked of us through Scripture and through the work of the Holy Spirit, can we truly be transformed. The following five questions (remembered as SPECK) can help you apply the Word to your life:
S – Is there a sin for me to avoid?
P – Is there a promise from God for me to claim?
E – Is there an example for me to follow?
C – Is there a command for me to obey?
K – How can this passage increase my knowledge about God or Jesus?
We hope this is a useful tool for you. We challenge you to give this method a taste. You'd be surprised how much there is to learn from Scripture, even if you've read it a million times.